The cities of Turku and Raisio have investigated the impacts of a possible tramway or “superbus” service in the Turku region. Such a city development project should support the development of the city and the region in a comprehensive way. The aim is to support the growth and competitiveness of the city, to produce a sustainable urban structure, to produce fluent and attractive public transport and to increase the city residents’ well-being. In addition the planning has examined the financial sustainability of the potential investment.
Tramway and so-called superbus have been studied as equal alternatives and they have been compared to the bus system. Design principle for superbus has been “think about rail solution, implement with bus” based on buses with high level of service (BHLS) and bus rapid transit (BRT). Objective is that superbus will have the same traffic arrangements as the tramway. Superbus would have the same routings, priorities and stops as the tramway.
All routing options leave from the Varissuo. There are four options for the terminal at the other end of the line: Raisio, Länsikeskus, Runosmäki and Travel Center. The depot is located at Rieskalähteentie for the tramway and the superbus, with the exception of the Varissuo-Matkakeskus tramway line where the depot is located at Itäharju.
Tramway has been estimated to be superior to the superbus for the city's competitiveness, growth and city center appeal, sustainable urban structure, fluent transport system and attractive public transport as well as residents' enjoyment and well-being. For the economy, with used assumptions the superbus is a more profitable investment as long as the capacity can be arranged for the examined time period of 30 years. However, in line with the latest forecast for population growth in Turku, the demand for capacity would increase faster, which would improve the profitability of the tramway especially. The bus meets the set targets worse than the tramway or superbus.
Varissuo-Raisio routing meets the set targets best. This line has the greatest potential for urban development and passengers. The best option for the economy is Varissuo-Runosmäki routing.
The goal is to decide early in the year 2019 in the city council of Turku whether to start an implementation project for either tramway or superbus. At the earliest, traffic could begin after planning and building, at about 2026.